Theological faculties in the Middle East relaunch their mission:
to announce the Gospel by listening to the "signs of the times"
Cairo (Agenzia Fides) - The common reflection of Christian theologians who live and work in the countries of the Middle East and North Africa can nourish the communion between the Churches and ecclesial communities of these regions, and foster their common mission of witness to the Gospel . This is the criterion that guided the meeting of the Association of Theological Faculties and Institutes of the Middle East, hosted on May 22 and 23 at the Seminary of the Coptic Catholic Church, in the Maadi district of Cairo. Coptic Catholic Patriarch Ibrahim Isaac Sidrak attended the meeting, as well as a number of theology professors who also teach at the Coptic Catholic Seminary. The approval of the rules of procedure and the election of the new President and the new CEO of the Association are also on the agenda of the working sessions of the assembly. The meeting takes place at the end of the 12th General Assembly of the Middle East Council of Churches (MECC), which is being held from May 16 to 20 in a conference room attached to the monastery of Anba Bishoy, in the desert region of Wadi Natrun (see Fides 16 and 20/5/2022) for theological reflection in the Middle East, which takes into account the current historical phase and contributes to nourishing the communion between the Churches and the Christian communities present in the Middle East. A significant renewal of the collaboration between the faculties of theology of the Middle East and the institutions affiliated with different ecclesial bodies took place starting from 2019, also thanks to the initiative of Professor Souraya Bechealany, who at that time held the position of Secretary General of the MECC (see Fides 21/5/2019). On May 18 and 19 of that year, the representatives of the organizations adhering to the Association of Theological Faculties and Institutes of the Middle East had been summoned to Beirut by the Lebanese professor in order to reactivate the channels of communication and the forms of collaboration between the 18 institutions belonging to the Association (faculties and theological institutes dispersed in Lebanon, Egypt, Syria and Iraq, linked to different Churches and Christian communities in the Middle East). During the previous decade, the Association had in fact suspended its activities. The initiative for this meeting was motivated by the need to relaunch theological reflection in the context of the relations of communion between the different ecclesial communities, to try to read together the "signs of the times" with which the Christian presence is called to reckon in the troubled scenarios of the Middle East. On this occasion, Maronite priest Tanios Khalil, Dean of the Faculty of Church Studies at La Sagesse University in Beirut, was elected Chairman of the Executive Committee.